Rupert Sheldrake’s 10 questions: 2 – Is the total amount of matter and energy always the same?

Rupert Sheldrake’s Science Set Free’s ten questions ask us to have an open mind about taken for granted scientific dogma. Chapter two asks if the total amount of matter and energy are always the same.

The law of conservation of energy emerged in the 1950s. He identifies theory and phenomena that cast doubt on the fundamental permanence of matter and energy. These are:

  • The advent of quantum theory changed thinking about the nature of matter: “Matter turns out to be highly packed energy transformable into other forms of energy”[1]
  • The big bang theory has matter appearing from nowhere.

big bang timeline

the big bang and the expansion of the universe[2]

  • The problem of the “big crunch” or the universe collapsing on itself was solved the discovery of dark matter and dark energy. Dark energy counters the force of gravity allowing continuing expansion of the universe. As the universe expands, according to Rupert Sheldrake, “the amount of dark energy may be increasing”.
  • Some claim to have developed devices that can tap into “zero-point energy or the quantum vacuum field, drawing on unlimited reserves of free power”.

Here is an explanation of dark matter and dark energy.

Persistent theory

Scientists, like other people, tend to hold on to beliefs beyond their useful life. According to Rupert Sheldrake any confirming evidence that supports established beliefs is accepted, but any evidence that challenges accepted beliefs is too often rejected. Some theory becomes an article of faith rather than evidenced fact.

Scientists, like most other people, accept evidence that agrees with their beliefs much more readily than evidence that contradicts them. This is one reason why orthodoxies in science remain established. (Science Set Free chapter two).

The problem is compounded when thinkers believe themselves to be objective. Bahá’u’lláh points us to the presence of heart and mind we need, to discover the truth. He was talking of spiritual truths, but surely the principle is just as relevant for scientific knowledge?

He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth.[3]


I have struggled to establish clear links between Rupert Sheldrake’s thinking and  Bahá’í concepts in this post – if you have any ideas please share them.

[1] Karl Popper quoted in Science Set Free Kindle location 1474

[2] image by NASA and sourced from

[3] from Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, page 264